Nearly all of the major airlines have followed United’s lead and implemented fees for checked baggage. Here is a helpful table comparing the various baggage fees from kayak.com. The table also includes fee information for meals, pets, unaccompanied minor service, and what it costs for extra legroom.
Among all the airlines, the most common fee structure for checked baggage is one free checked bag, $25 for a second checked bag, and $50 for a third checked bag. But the fees vary: American charges $15 for the first bag; Delta charges $50 for a second bag; and British Airways doesn’t charge at all.
If you think you can avoid checked baggage fees by carrying on your luggage, think again. On all international flights that use London’s Heathrow Airport, for example, carry-on luggage is strictly limited to one bag that weighs less than 20 pounds. Domestic carriers are increasingly enforcing their own carry-on rules in order to force customers to check baggage (and thus pay their fees).
Besides shipping your luggage ahead or traveling with just your toothbrush, becoming a frequent flier with at least the first tier of status is the only good way at this point to beat the fees. On nearly every airline, the fees for checked baggage are waived for frequent fliers (see previous post on how to “Avoid United’s $25 for a Second Checked Bag“).